Guards’ tax funded course on no sex with inmates

PRISON officers are being given refresher training not to have sex with inmates following an alleged affair between a guard and cop killer.

Corrective Services Minister Peter Severin told a budget estimates hearing yesterday the training was deemed necessary after Amy Connors was accused of having a sexual relationship with Sione Penisini at the Mid North Coast correctional centre in Kempsey.

Ms Connors, 34, was suspended over her alleged relationship with Penisini, who was jailed for 36 years for shooting and killing police officer Glenn McEnallay in 2002.

 

Amy Connors was accused of having a sexual relationship with inmate Sione Penisini at a correctional centre in Kempsey. Picture: Nathan Edwards
Amy Connors was accused of having a sexual relationship with inmate Sione Penisini at a correctional centre in Kempsey. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Asked by Labor's Lynda Voltz what the department was doing to mitigate guard-­prisoner sexual relationships, Mr Severin said employees were being given "reminder ­refresher training which is being rolled out as we speak".

"It's not to say that you're going to do the wrong thing but to remind staff what it means to do the right thing and how to react if they discover that somebody is doing the wrong thing or if they feel themselves vulnerable," Mr Severin said.

A Corrective Services spokeswoman said the one-day Maintaining Professional Boundaries workshop covered "strategies for maintaining strong professional boundaries" and the "continuum of professionalism (including under and over involvement)".

 

Corrective Services Minister Peter Severin said training was deemed necessary. Picture: Nathan Edwards
Corrective Services Minister Peter Severin said training was deemed necessary. Picture: Nathan Edwards

 

Corrections Minister David Elliott understands four female prison officers have alleged sexual relations with inmates from 2017-18. Picture: Nathan Edwards
Corrections Minister David Elliott understands four female prison officers have alleged sexual relations with inmates from 2017-18. Picture: Nathan Edwards

 

It also covered topics such as "risk and protective factors" and "self-care".

Corrections Minister David Elliott said he understood four reports had been made in relation to allegations of female prison officers having sexual relations with inmates in the 2017-18 financial year, some of which "go back a number of years".

"I want to say four but I'll take that on notice," he said.

Mr Elliott said the allegations equated to "about 0.01 per cent of the officers employed" but had brought Corrective Services into disrepute.